Scientists just discovered a planet shaped like a football
Now, WASP-121b would not be anywhere in the top, if you were about to make a list of exoplanets that would be worth visiting in person. There were a plethora of exoplanets out there that would not be comfortable for human begins, but WASP-121b is a unique type of hostile, not to talk about a shape that will look very familiar to sports fans i.e., football.
Using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, Astronomers have been studying WASP-121b and their observations are very wild. For beginners, the planet is extremely hot, with a higher atmosphere reaching temperatures of up to 4,600 degrees Fahrenheit. The proximity of the planet to its host star and that extreme temperature has also affected its form.
In a new paper published in the Astronomical Journal, the researchers explain WASP-121b is so hot and so near to its star that it has been deformed into an oblong, shaped like a football. The extreme heat is so powerful that it’s led elements such as iron and magnesium to be completely vaporized, streaming into space as the star blasts the planet with huge force.
Co-author of the study, Drake Deming, said in a statement, ‘For ultra-hot Jupiters, this planet is a prototype. These planets are so greatly irradiated by their host stars, they are almost like stars themselves.’ ‘The planet is evaporated by its host star to the point that we can observe metal atoms evading the upper atmosphere where they can act together with the magnetic field of the planet. This presents a chance to view and know some very interesting physics.’
The so-called ‘hot Jupiter’ exoplanets, by their nature are extremely hot, but this particular exoplanet is so near to its star, that it is really being torn apart by it, pulling the world into its strange shape while also blasting material out of its environment.